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Indians stymie Blue Jays 4-2 to take commanding 3-0 lead in ALCS

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Indians starter Trevor Bauer could only go two-thirds of an inning before departing as his stitched-up pinkie finger opened up and began dripping blood. Nevertheless, the Indians persevered and defeated the Blue Jays 4-2 in Game 3 of the ALCS to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Indians will have a chance to wrap it up on Tuesday and punch their ticket to the World Series.

The Indians gave Bauer an early lead when, after Carlos Santana drew a leadoff walk against starter Marcus Stroman, Mike Napoli swatted a two-out RBI double to right-center field that bounced off of Jose Bautista.

Bauer insisted his injury — suffered repairing a drone, something he built as a hobby — wouldn’t be an impediment despite it causing the Indians to push him back in their ALCS rotation. Bauer struck out Jose Bautista looking to begin the bottom of the first inning and it appeared to be smooth sailing. But he walked Josh Donaldson, got Edwin Encarnacion to line out, then walked Troy Tulowitzki to put runners on first and second base. The FS1 cameras showed Bauer’s right hand dripping blood.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out to speak with home plate umpire Brian Gorman, pointing out Bauer’s wound. Indians manager Terry Francona was on the mound discussing the issue with Bauer. Gorman came up to Francona and said the bleeding was “too much” and said Bauer would need to be replaced. Dan Otero took the mound and got Russell Martin to ground out to end the inning.

Michael Saunders drilled a solo homer to left field off of Otero in the bottom of the second, tying the game at 1-1. That marked the Jays’ first home run of the ALCS.

Napoli came through again for the Indians in the fourth, drilling a solo home run to center field off of Stroman to break the tie. Napoli also became the fifth player to hit a home run for four different teams in the postseason.

The Jays were able to knot things back up at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ezequiel Carrera laced a triple to right-center to lead off the frame. Ryan Goins knocked Carrera in with a ground out to shortstop. But that was the end of the Blue Jays’ offense, as the Indians’ bullpen continued to dominate.

Bryan Shaw got five outs, allowing two hits and striking out two batters. He yielded a leadoff single to Kevin Pillar in the seventh before being replaced by closer Cody Allen. Allen was able to get Carrera to fly out to right field. While pinch-hitter Justin Smoak was batting, Pillar stole second base. Allen, howeer, rebounded by striking Smoak out on a curve. Bautista worked a walk, but Donaldson lined out to left field to end the threat.

In the eighth, Shaw got Encarnacion to ground out before striking out Tulowitzki. Lefty Andrew Miller entered the game for the final four outs. He easily fanned Martin to send the game to the ninth.

The Indians threatened to score more runs in the top of the ninth against Roberto Osuna, putting runners on second and third with one out, but ultimately came up empty. Miller came back out for the bottom of the ninth. Miller worked around a leadoff single to Dioner Navarro, striking out Pillar and pinch-hitter B.J. Upton before inducing a game-ending ground out up the middle from Darwin Barney.

With a chance to clinch the ALCS, the Indians will send Corey Kluber out to the mound on short rest to face the Blue Jays in Game 4 on Tuesday at 4:00 PM EDT. The Jays will counter with Aaron Sanchez with their playoff lives on the line.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.